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The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The war between Search Engines (read Google) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practitioners, which has raged since Google's birth in 2000, shifted focus this year - and not only Google Users, but all website visitors are the winners.

In the early days SEO was much simpler and SEO practitioners had the upper hand: The primary requirements to improve Google performance were simply to focus on the density of relevant keywords and then gather as many inbound links as possible.

Alas, that resulted in websites filled with low quality content - repetitive keywords and phrases - and countless links between unrelated websites that may have improved Google performance, but delivered little value to Google Users or website visitors in general.

Google's evolution, driven by the goal of delivering the most relevant search results possible, led to the release earlier this year of the Quality Update.

This newest weapon in the Google arsenal has forced SEO practitioners down a new path, and the by-products are an overall improvement to the quality of Google search results and the quality of website content generally.


What Is The Quality Update?

Around May of this year, Google started to give more weight to pages that it deemed to have a higher quality of content.

The technical details of how Google determines the quality of content is still being debated, but as one expert has put it: "we do know that it wants to provide users with the best information possible."Source

In a nutshell, it means shifting your focus away from creating content for Google, and towards creating content for your visitors.

Google explicitly states this as the first point in their article Steps to a Google-friendly site - "...give visitors the information they're looking for: Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do...".


What Is Quality Content?

When first hearing the term "quality content", you could be forgiven for thinking that you need to hire the services of Shakespeare to write the content of your website.

There are many, many (many) articles about how to go about writing quality content, but let us save you some pain and share some insight.

The Internet is the world's largest resource of information. You can search for anything, at any time, and get an answer to whatever question you may have.

Having such a vast volume of information available to us at the click of a button, however, has overwhelmed us, and it has changed the way we sort through and process information.

Now, instead of reading through content line for line until we find the answer we're after, we skim across it impatiently; and if we can't find our answer quickly, we move onto the next website to scour through their content instead.

This puts some weight on the amount of time we spend on a single page of a website, because if you've spent more than 30 seconds on a page, clearly there is something of value to you on that page.

And there's the secret to deciphering the term "quality content" - It's actually "valuable content".

Create content that is meaningful to readers, that's valuable to readers.

Readers will come back to content that is valuable to them in some way. Readers will share content they think will be valuable to others.


How to Create Valuable Content

As Google outline in their Webmaster Academy course, the content of your website should be useful and informative, credible, and engaging.

Microsoft's search engine, Bing, have boiled their guidelines down a little further, breaking the aspects of content quality into three pillars - Authority (how trustworthy is the content), Utility (how useful is the content), and Presentation (how well-presented is the content and how easy is it to find it).

The simple fact is, creating content that keeps people reading (or watching) is all you need to do to create valuable content.

And here is where you can think outside of the box. Your content could be informative, or it could be entertaining, or it could be convenient, or a mix of all three.

So while your competitor may have articles fit for a peer-reviewed journal on their website, your content could still be valuable if visitors find it more convenient, or more entertaining.

As an example, think of the numerous Do-It-Yourself related videos on Youtube.

There may thousands of videos that demonstrate exactly the same topic - how to change a tyre for example - but you can find videos that only cover the basics of how to change a tyre with just as many views as a video that shows every single step with detailed explanations.

A video may be just as popular if it is a little more entertaining, or if it covers the steps of the task a little faster (more convenient).

Different audiences will put differing levels of value on different formats and structures of content, which is why you can still create valuable content.

To help you to create valuable / quality content for your website, I've gathered a list of articles that cover the topic in more detail.

They all provide a different angle to decipher and understand the term 'quality content', and how to tackle the task.


Great Articles About Creating Valuable Content:



What's Your Opinion? How do you define 'quality content'? Join the conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


We Review Two iPhone 6's

We Review Two iPhone 6's

We Review Two iPhone 6's

The Apple iPhone 6s (and 6s Plus) were released last week, along with the highly unexpected Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro.

The initial response has been largely positive from both the tech industry and the ever-faithful iFollowers.

I invested in an iPhone 6 last year, so I thought I'd compare the pair to see what extra features and benefits I would now be enjoying if I had waited for the iPhone 6s.

To cut to the chase, in my opinion both models are more or less the same but for a handful of small improvements. So while I won't rushing out to replace my iPhone 6, there is a case to justify the investment. Jump to the bottom to see why.

According to the Apple website: the only thing that's changed in the new iPhone 6s is "everything".

At face value however, the iPhone 6s it looks strikingly similar (in fact identical) to it's predecessor, which you may recall "everything" was also the only thing was changed when the original iPhone 6 hit the streets!

Before we look at the new features of the iPhone 6s in more detail, let's start with a straight comparison to the iPhone 6.

Capacity: Both models are available with 16GB and 64GB of storage capacity. The iPhone 6s also has a 128GB option for those that can't fit enough Youtube on their current model.

Display: The original iPhone 6 has a 4.7" LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical), 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical), Full sRGB standard, Dual-domain pixels for wide viewing angles, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, Support for displaying multiple languages and characters simultaneously, Display Zoom aaaannnnddd Reachability...whatever that means!

The new iPhone 6s comes with all of that PLUS: next-generation Multi-Touch display with IPS technology and Taptic Engine!

What is a Taptic Engine? It's a new form of feedback from the screen in the form of subtle taps.

That's right, you don't tap iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s taps you! Cool.

Weight & Dimensions: A real let-down for the iPhone 6s is it's size and weight compared to the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6s is 0.2mm taller, 0.1mm wider and 0.2mm thicker! And it's significantly heavier. A good 14g heavier than the iPhone 6.

Processor (Chip): As with most new model releases by Apple, the new iPhone model comes with the latest A chip - the A9 chip - Embedded with the M9 motion coprocessor, it's a step up from the A8 chip that only has the M8 motion coprocessor (and it isn't even embedded).

Cellular & Wireless: In this category, both models are almost exactly the same.

You have your usual UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A, GPS and GLONASS, VoLTE and NFC.

The iPhone 6s takes a small step forward however, as it comes with 4G LTE Advanced (over iPhone 6's plain 4G LTE), Bluetooth 4.2 (over iPhone's Bluetooth 4.0) and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO (over iPhone's MIMO-less 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi).

Touch ID: The iPhone 6 brought a brand new feature to the table with it's Touch ID finger print sensor built right into the home button that allows users to spend minutes trying to get their thumbprint to match correctly so they could unlock their smartphone rather than the excruciating seconds it took before to tap in 4 digits.

The iPhone 6s ups the ante however, with it's Second-Generation fingerprint sensor, also built right into the home button.

iSight Camera: The camera is where the iPhone 6s starts to shine over it's former model. Again, we see only slight improvements in most of the camera's features, but the iPhone 6s is improved by a 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels (formerly 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels).

Video Recording: Video enthusiasts will be happy to find that the new iPhone 6s comes with 4K video recording (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps (something the old model doesn't have at all), as well as Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 120 fps, and 720p at 240 fps, and playback zoom! Everything else is the same.

FaceTime Camera: Apart from the higher megapixel photos and Retina Flash, the FaceTime Camera on both models are exactly the same.

Everything Else: Everything else that the iPhone has - Battery Life, Audio Playback, Video Playback, Siri even the headphones... they're all the same across both models.



The New Features

The new iPhone 6s does come with new features that the iPhone 6 does not have.

New Aluminium: The new iPhone 6s is made from a new aluminium alloy, the same grade used in the aerospace industry, so it's fit for re-entry into the atmosphere.

Fun Fact: Compare the Australian Apple website to the US website - it says aluminum on the US site, and aluminium on the Aussie version - now that's catering for your local audience!

New Colour: With this new aluminium alloys comes a new aluminium colour: Rose Gold, which I think looks more like sunset salmon copper, but that's just my opinion.

3D Touch: 3D Touch is a flash way of saying that the iPhone 6s screen, like it's little brother the iWatch, now has pressure sensors and behaves different according to "how deeply you press the display".

3D Touch now allows you to Peek and Pop - the next dimension in functionality - that also provides you with feedback so you can feel what you've done.

Here's a prediction: iHipsters will now rank and file based upon how many alerts they can "peek" at before tapping too hard and "popping" instead.

Live Photos: The stand out new feature on the iPhone 6s, without doubt, is Live Photos.

Touted as "An entirely new way to bring your still photos to life."

I won't try to explain it any better than Apple already have - "At the heart of a Live Photo is a beautiful 12-megapixel photo. But together with that photo are the moments just before and after it was taken, captured with movement and sound." - OK, maybe I can explain it better: it's a 3 second video...


The Final Review

The iPhone 6s is, without a doubt, exactly what the iPhone 6 should have been when it was released... There is still reason why I suggest you strongly consider the iPhone 6s however.

It's not because I'm a rabid iFollower that upgrades to every model the week it is released.

No, I suggest you buy this model so you can get into the 2-year s-model rotation instead of the regular model rotation.

Then, instead of waiting weeks for your new iPhone 7 to ship after it's predicted September 2016 release, 12 months later you'll breeze into your local Apple store and grab a new phone with all the features lacking in the previous model!

Genius or what?


Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Social Media is all about sharing. Sharing insights, sharing information, sharing opinions.

Not everyone is using social media at the same time however.

Some people use it throughout the day, others just a couple of days a week.

So how can a business ensure that their clients and followers see the information that is shared by the company on social media?

Is it acceptable to post the same information a number of times, or should the business focus on encouraging their followers to be following at the time the company shares their information?

At some point in time, a choice will need to be made - Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

If we compare social media practices to real world social interaction practices, re-tweeting something you have already said could be compared to sharing a story with one friend about your children winning first place at the sports festival, then walking over to another friend and sharing the exact same story, and then moving onto another friend...

I've been to many a gathering and have seen people repeating their stories, and the crowd seem to clue on pretty quickly about what is going on.

People see this as overemphasising the story, trying to give it more importance than it may actually have, and they react negatively to it.

It doesn't matter if the story is a great tale worthy of being set in stone, more often than not the more times people see or hear it, the less they like it.

It's tempting to categorise re-tweeting a tweet (or re-posting a post) the same as "that guy with only one story", however, that's not the reality.

Unlike a real world social gathering, where everyone is present and with at least some awareness of things going on around them, social media followers are not always present and can be very easily distracted when they are on-line.

Despite the fact that around 10 million Australians are on Facebook every day^, few, if any, are actively there 24 hours a day, and with only a fraction of the followers in your network receiving each individual content item you publish the chances of a social media post being missed is extremely high.

This is why re-posting your social media content is an actually an acceptable thing to do.

Compare the practice to that of a TV or Radio station, who regularly repeat the top stories of the day.

It isn't because they don't have any new stories to cover, it is because not everyone tunes into the 7am broadcast.

If the information you are sharing is valuable enough, people will accept the repetition rather than reject it.

It is very easy to cross the line however, and come out looking like you're desperately trying for everyone in the entire world to know you have a new blog article on your website.

There are best practices and bad practices that you should consider when re-posting your content on social media.


You don't need to re-share every type of content.

The more valuable the content is, the more acceptable it is to re-post it.

While it might seem like a good idea to re-post a photo that received a lot of likes, re-posting the same photo won't be received the same way the second time around.

Generally speaking, the best type of post that can safely be re-posted is a link post  - be it a link to your blog or website, or links to other content you want to share.

Re-posting other content, especially those with the same image can look like you're platform is just stuck on repeat.


Change Up the Message

When re-posting or re-tweeting, don't re-post the exact same post / tweet - and be certain to change the image.

For example, if your typical link post looks like [Article Title] [Link] [Hastag], then try a completely different format when you re-post the link.

The second post could be a question related to the article followed by the link, or you could include a block-quote from the article followed with the link.

The more you change the format, the less your page will look like it is being managed by an automated script.


Get the Scheduling Right

When it comes to timing your re-posts, each social media platform has it's own requirements.

Twitter is very busy. A tweet can get lost among the clutter very quickly. And for this reason, you will want to re-post more frequently than the other platforms.

Re-tweet a tweet 2 hours after the initial post, then once the following day, then once the following week, and once the following month, and one more time 2 months after the first post.

Again, remember to change the content of the message so your feed doesn't look like you're just hitting 'repeat' every few hours.

Facebook and Google+ are much more forgiving. The lifespan of content is longer, and it is easier for people to follow up on what you've posted in the past week/month if they are interested.

It's safe to re-post on Facebook and Google+ a week after your initial post, following up again a month later.

When it comes to getting the balance right with your audience however, it is very much trial and error.

Consider what you deem to be enough, and not too much.

Try one schedule, and measure the results. If your followers mention something, or start to leave en-mass, then you know your current schedule is too much and you need to cut it back.


So there we have it.

Done appropriately, and with some attention to detail, re-posting your link posts is an effective way to ensure that your content has a longer lifespan, remains useful and accessible by your followers, and has the potential to reach a much wider audience than just posting it once and hoping for the best.



^Source: These incredible stats show exactly how huge Facebook is in Australia.



Resources:



Do you repost your content? What are you thoughts on the practice? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


Your 2015 eStore Christmas Promotion Checklist

Your 2015 eStore Christmas Promotion Checklist

Your 2015 eStore Christmas Promotion Checklist

According to this website, there are 119 sleeps until Christmas!!

That's only 17 weeks!

Which means that all you eTailers have even less time to prepare your eStore for the Christmas/Holiday Sale Rush!

The time to start planning is NOW!

There are promotions to decide, marketing campaigns to prepare, and don't even get me started on which wrapping paper to use this year.

We've put together a nice check-list to help you to prepare for your best Christmas Season yet.

#1: Review Last Year

The very first thing you'll want to do is to review the performance of last year's sale.

Undoubtedly, there were some parts that went very well, and other parts that fizzled for one reason or another.

Take this time to identify the positives and the negatives from last year.

Anything you did that was worth repeating, note it down and add it into your 2015 strategy. And the mistakes that you don't want to repeat, create contingency plans to ensure they don't get repeated.

Then after reviewing your own performance, the next step is to review your competitors.

Look at how they approached the silly season sale. Are there any lessons to be learnt from mistakes they made? Or some clever ideas that you can take some inspiration from?

#2: Check Your Sales Data

Have a look at your sales history for the year.

Identify your top customers, because you'll want to specifically target them to boost your sales, as well as offer them a little reward incentive to butter them up as well.

Next, identify your top selling and poorest selling products for the year, and there are two reasons for this.

The first is to help you to select the products to feature in your promotions.

The second is to help identify any possible issues for the performance of your poorest selling products. Is there a stand-out reason why these particular products aren't selling as well?

Maybe the product description isn't informative enough, or the product images need improvement.

Take this opportunity to compare your poorer selling products against your best selling products and improve the content for your poorer sellers.

#3: Review our Twelve Steps to Successful Christmas eTailing

Hopefully you're already up-to-speed with our Twelve Steps to successful Christmas eTailing from last year, and they're already a part of your strategy.

If not, be sure to read them, as they are all still very relevant.

#4: Map out your marketing strategy

Now you want to plan your strategy - the theme of your campaign, the promotions you will offer, when you will start each promotion, and how long each promotion will run for.

Christmas is about rewards and gifts, and just generally being nice, so integrate this into the theme for your campaign.

Shoppers are always looking for the discounts, but think creatively about how customers can earn them, or earn further discounts.

Create some interaction between your business and your customers.

Perhaps a competition on social media could offer a higher discount on top of a regular discount. Or offer a special discount to your Facebook followers that are the most active in your community.

Stacking promotions to encourage sales at the start of the promotion is another effective strategy, offering multiple discounts/specials at the start of the sale period that drop off as the promotion progresses.

Without a doubt, you will also want to offer Free Shipping at some point during the promotion, if not for the entire sale period. Free Shipping will is always a major part of your customer's buying decisions, and is a common sales tactic by your competitors.

#5: Map out your content strategy

It's never a bad time to review and update your content, but now is a great opportunity to give your website content a good spring clean.

You've already decided on the theme for your marketing campaign, now to plan the areas of your website that will need to be updated to reflect your theme.

You may wish to re-write your product pages to be more appropriate to the occasion/theme, or to provide better descriptions that help the customer to make a purchase.

Fresh product images are always a good idea, and can also be used to add to the feel of your theme.

Then there is the banner images on the homepage that are going to draw and direct your customers to your featured specials. What marketing message will you want to display? Which products will you feature?

If you have a Blog or News section, prepare a plan for the articles that you will publish during the campaign. Plan dates will they be published, and decide on the images that be used in the articles.

#6: Map out your e-Mail campaigns

Now that you have your marketing strategy set out, it's time to plan your e-Mail campaigns.

Following on from Step 2, we recommend making two lists of subscribers - Your best customers, and your regular subscribers.

Plan to send a campaign to each list a week before your campaign starts, another at the start of the sale, then a third campaign a week or two before the sale ends, and lastly, a final days reminder.

List which products you will include, and write the content for each campaign, and again, decide on the images that be used.

Have everything prepared so that all that remains is the create each campaign and send them.

#7: Map out your social media campaigns

As always, you need to plan social media campaigns to support your marketing and e-Mail campaigns.

Plan out the posts for each of your social media accounts, and prepare the content for each post, and brainstorm the style and message of images that will need to be produced for each post.

You may also want to launch competitions especially for your social media channels to attract your followers.

Lastly, look at utilising Facebook Ads to target your followers, or new followers.

#8: Arrange for content to be produced early

Once you have everything planned and decided, the final step is to arrange for the content you aren't able to produce to be produced for you.

You really don't want to leave this until the last minute, the earlier you can get your designer onto your banners or images, the earlier they will be ready to launch your campaign and the less rush everyone will be in later in the year.



Need some Help? If you would like some help to get your Christmas Promotion into gear, Get in Touch. Or if you have some tips of your own that you'd like to share, join us on the iASP Central Facebook Page.



Further Reading:


The #1 Trick to Increase Your Daily SPAM

The #1 Trick to Increase Your Daily SPAM

The #1 Trick to Increase Your Daily SPAM

Don't you just love SPAM e-Mail?

How much productivity is lost globally, filtering genuine e-mail from the countless, useless, unwanted and sometimes downright offensive e-Mail messages.

What frustrates us as professional web developers is that so many organisations directly invite SPAM by making one of the most common and costly mistakes: Publishing e-mail addresses on websites.


Publishing e-mail addresses on websites is the #1 way to attract SPAM.

It's that simple!
No cheats or gimmicks.
No sneaky fees or subscriptions.
Guaranteed to work every time!


Publishing your e-mail address on your website is about as clever as publishing your credit card number. It's just inviting trouble.

There are countless SPAMbots - simple computer programs that scan the Web looking for e-Mail addresses and adding them to SPAM lists or marketing databases.

And while SPAM might be just one of those things you have to deal with on the Internet, reducing the severity of the problem will always make life easier.


So how can you publish your e-Mail address without leaving it open for Spambots?

Well, there are 3 main methods:

1.) Miscellaneous Teckky Tricks

The end goal is to display an e-Mail address in a readable way to a real viewer, while hiding the e-Mail address from spambots.
To achieve this, there are a few "tricks" you can use to try to "hide" your e-Mail address.

One "trick" is to type the e-Mail address backwards, then use CSS to display it the right way.
A spambot will see 'ua.moc.sserdda@liame-my', but the reader will see 'my-email@address.com.au'.
The difficult part to this trick is correctly writing your e-Mail address backwards. Did you notice my mistake?

Another "trick" is to break up the e-Mail address with HTML code, which is then hidden using CSS to display the e-Mail address correctly.

And yet another "trick" is to replace the @'s and .'s in an e-Mail address with AT or DOT.
Because nothing says "professional" like 'my-email AT address DOT com DOT au'.

These tricks have been around for centuries however (in Internet time), and spambot developers have become wise to them.
They will easily unpick your "trick" and add you to their spam list.


2.) e-Mail Address Obfuscator

An e-Mail obfuscator is a small javascript that adds your e-Mail address to the page after it has loaded, or unjumbles your e-Mail address so that appears jumbled to spambots but becomes readable when the page is loaded.

Like the "tricks" above, however, this method is becoming outdated as well.

Spambot developers are learning how to find if an obfuscator is being used, and how to get around them.
This means that obfuscators need to be adjusted semi-regularly to change how they alter an e-Mail address so it doesn't become predictable.

And now with Google's ability to execute javascript to index websites better, you can bet that it won't be long before spambots can do the same thing.


3.) A Contact form

Really, THE ONLY WAY to save you from the need to publish your e-Mail address on the Web while still allowing people to contact you by e-Mail is to use a Contact form.

The first two methods still leave your e-Mail address wide open for nefarious types to find with a little bit of effort.
A contact form removes the need to publish an e-Mail address entirely, making it much more difficult to find.

Using a contact form also allows comes with some advantages for analytics and visitor tracking as well (if you're into that kind of thing).


Conclusion

While just publishing a link to your e-Mail address may save you some time and appear to be more aesthetic.
It is nothing compared to the pain of deleting SPAM e-Mail every morning after your e-Mail address ends up on SPAM lists around the globe.

All iASP powered websites come standard with a Contact form module, and customised versions are one of many options available.

If you're unsure of how to add a Contact form to your iASP powered website, or you'd like some advice about publishing an e-Mail address, Get in Touch.



Resources:



What's your Opinion? Do you proudly publish your e-Mail address in the open? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.